The mistake was that I didn’t realize the plug at the back of the paddleboard was missing. That meant water flowed in silently as I paddled, making the board heavier and tippier than the red one I’d used the day before. I thought my balance wasn’t as good due to having just woken up. Or that she wasn’t sitting right. She thought I was doing it wrong.
We didn’t go far from shore. And the view of the sunrise did turn out to be spectacular. The sky glowed red and orange before the sun itself appeared. When the hot burst of distant fire touched the horizon off Prouts Neck, I was amazed at how quickly it moved up into the sky. You could almost hear it pop.
We made it back to land without getting wet. Thanks to my daughter, we have this great photo to remind us of how serene we looked out there.
As the years go by, I hope memory of our anxiety and bickering on that tippy yellow board fades. We will have this photo, suggesting a peaceful paddle at dawn. And, truth be told, we treated each other pretty well even as the board wobbled beneath us.
We knew we each had to find our own balance. And that added up to two people coasting on the ocean for a while then returning to the beach without getting wet. Sweet.